common, and the Commission carefully reviews all the documentation provided by the grievant
and acquired during the investigation before making a determination. With rare exception, it is
not a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct for a judge to make a decision, even if it is in
error. The remedy in such a situation is not with the Commission, but through an appeal.
Occasionally we will dismiss a complaint because it concerns conduct that occurred prior to the
3-year statutory limit, or for a violation of the confidentiality required by our rules during the
investigation. Until the adoption of the new law requiring the Commission to consider all
complaints, we dismissed grievances that had also been filed with the Supreme Court Committee
on Judicial Conduct.
In some cases, during the course of its investigation of a grievance, the Commission may vote to
informally resolve the matter with the consent of the judge. Such informal resolution may take
the form of written advice or admonishment, the requirement of remedial action, or the
imposition of conditions, or any combination thereof.
Statistical data on cases for fiscal year 2003 are in Appendix B.
Under the Commission’s Procedural Rules, files of dismissed cases are available for public
inspection after redaction of identifying information about the person complained against. If,
after preliminary investigation, the Commission finds probable cause to believe a judge has
violated the Code of Judicial Conduct, the file and proceedings will be public. We have not yet
had a case meeting this criterion.
1. Duplication of Effort
The Judicial Conduct Commission was created with the expectation by the Legislature that the
Supreme Court Commission on Judicial Conduct, which has the same duties, would be
disbanded. That expectation proved to be incorrect. Thus, two similarly named panels are
operating in parallel, costing taxpayers money, and causing much confusion for the public.
Moreover, Section 172 of House Bill 2 and its successor, House Bill 4, state that “All complaints
against judges, as defined in RSA 494-A:2, IV, and clerks, as defined in RSA 494-A:2, I, shall
be directed to the Judicial Conduct Commission.” Because of this provision, we have suspended
our procedural rule that requires a grievant to choose only one forum for his or her complaint.
Since July 1, 2003, we have received and disposed of several complaints filed with both
2. State Directory Errors
It is a continuing frustration that those looking for information about the Commission have great
difficulty locating our telephone number or website in state publications. Even though we are an
independent agency, the new state telephone directory mistakenly lists us under Administrative
Services. (Who looks for Judicial Conduct under the A’s?) Additionally, a search for “Judicial
Conduct Commission” on the state website provides links to the Supreme Court Committee on
Judicial Conduct instead of to us. While it is possible to access our phone number by entering
our name under “Current Topical Listings,” we are not listed anywhere under the link entitled